Naturally, it helps that the ever war-mongering Gen. Thaddeus “Thunderbolt” Ross is played by William Hurt, not only one of the great actors of our time, but also one of our most memorable villains (see “A History of Violence,” or even “Into the Wild” if you don’t believe me).
Anyone familiar with the “Hulk” story knows that Ross is also Betty's father, but Hurt continues to call his character more conflicted than evil.
"I jumped at 'Hulk' because I loved it as a kid, because it was a morality tale that I got my head really into at that time and there are some very real things about it,” Hurt said earlier this year in a conversation after a press confab for “Vantage Point.”
“I mean, I really dug it. I dug Hulk's dilemma and I dug General Ross's dilemma. For me, it didn't talk down to me as a young person, which is why I jumped at it. There's a lot of reality in that. And sometimes cartoons -- and the broad strokes that come with them -- are really the most sensitive ones.
“You can say, ‘Oh, cartoons, comic book, who cares?’ But, there's a lot of important stuff going on in comics and in graphic novels,” Hurt said before launching into one of his famous intellectual rants on what he does for a living.
“You know," he said. “I am a stranger to the world of (comics-based) movies, and I've never seen anything stranger in my life."
“The same year a producer (Albert “Cubby” Broccoli) is getting an (Irving G. Thalberg) Oscar for selling more 007 movie seats than anything in history, I agreed to do a movie completely on spec (his Oscar-winning “Kiss of the Spider Woman”). I mean, they didn't give me a penny for it until later, and we had to force them to put some money in escrow so they couldn’t try to get some attention for themselves and then pull the plug.
“So, how do you equate? Where do we go for standards? Why is any platform important? To try to bring all the various dimensions of offering some kind of relationship to one another. Is that necessary? Does it demean what's fine to do what's broad? Does it falsely honor, grotesquely general strokes to sidle great works of modesty and passion up against packages that apply across the board everywhere and treat subjects gratuitously and generally?"
“I think it's probably a very sincere effort, fundamentally, to try to expose some ideas to broader audiences that they wouldn’t have available to them. I know a lot of people play videogames, but they don't read the op-ed page. So how are you going to bring the op-ed page to the video people? How do you do that? How do you 'educate the masses' without proselytizing your prejudices to them? Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. You know, those are big issues.”
Hmmm… sounds like the kind of thing Gen. Ross and Tony Stark – another Marvel Comic icon – might talk about in a movie someday. Or not.
John M. Urbancich
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